Bitcoin Mining Lowers Power Consumption 92%. Friend or Foe?

February 15, 2022

Bitmain recently unveiled its latest generation of Asic Miner equipment, the Antminer S19 XP, slated for first shipment date in July 2022. This is a 140 terahash per second machine consuming 3,010 watts. The power efficiency, the other major expense factor for miners, is 21.5 watts per terahash (3,010 watts ÷ 140 terahash/second). The prior generation, Bitmain Antminer S19 Pro, consumes 3,250 watts with a 110 Th/s hashing power, implying a power efficiency of 29.5 watts/Th. The new S19 XP consumes 26% less power than the S19 Pro.
One of the most basic, first-order-of-business things someone should learn about the Bitcoin issuance protocol, is that it incentivizes a reduction in energy use. Every four years, Bitcoin mining experiences a so-called “halving.” This means that the bitcoin block reward is actually reduced by one half. Almost two years ago, in May 2020, the bitcoin reward of 12.5 bitcoin was reduced to the current 6.25. In May 2024, the miner’s block reward will be cut by another 50%, to 3.125 coins. Bitcoin mining must become continually more efficient; it is structurally incentivized to do so.
That is why there has been a 92% reduction in power use per terahash in just the past seven years. There is probably no piece of electrical equipment in the world that has achieved this level of power efficiency that rapidly. Merely to survive, the industry must constantly reduce its cost of electric power. There is a vicious cycle here, but in the opposite direction than most people think.

Is the cryptocurrency mining industry an environment foe? Or friend?

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